It's the same as any other electric vehicle, which is that you are buring electrons instead of gas. So in the end, the basic operating cost is cheaper. Do not try to compare speed and power the ICE (gas) powered motorcycle will win every time.
But lower operating costs (no gas, no oil and filter changes), and a great reduction in sound. That's where the EV's really shine.
An electric bike can power up the hills and can get up to speed in a hurry.
The motor is not for speed.
The bike is much heavier because of the batteries, top speed is not increased in a stock bicycle.
The law in my area is that an electric bicycle may not be capable of more than 28 kilometers per hour.
A bicycle which runs without pedalling is a motorcycle and needs a licence, and you need a license to operate it.
A street legal electric bicycle is called "electric assist"
For me the overpowering benefit is that it is a fully functioning ev that I can use as a springboard to learning how to build AND OPERATE my own electric car.
Learning about batteries
Learning about controllers
Learning about motors
Learning about electronic principles
and if I mess up, the repairs are relatively cheap.
1) Great low-speed commuter vehicle with low maintenance.Really good if you don't live in the Sticks like I do.
2) Unless you're Lance Armstrong, hills are rough-a little Power Assist is nice there, or if you run out of energy, throw a chain or a sprocket, etc.
3) You don't need a license or insurance for one in most states. I hear my own NC is about to change that though-can't imagine why. Not enough Gas Tax perhaps?
4) Great practice for the more expensive EVs. If you have an interesting idea you can test it here, and if it ends in flames you weep far less because it was only a few dozen rather than a few thousand dollars.
5) Commercial EV bikes are a bit pricey. DIY EVs can be as cheap as you are crafty, just like the bigger ones. Do you know there are weirdos in my neck of the woods who will pay upwards of $150-200 for a standard bike, get tired of it and throw it in a dumpster? My 1970s Huffy Beach Cruiser single-speed was one throw away from the trash because the owner 'didn't wanna waste my money on those flat tires, besides I never rode it that much'. Unbelievable. I paid him $1 to toss it in my direction and blew a whopping $8 on new tubes. Just wait until the job market picks up and I can afford a NiMH pack, he'll BEG to know where I got it, then i'll pull his dollar out of my wallet...
er...went into a tangent there, sorry. Anyway-
6) Hybrid vehicle. Controller let out the Magic Smoke? Battery short out? Grab a Gatorade and beat feet! From an engineering standpoint a Bike is the most efficient transport on Planet Earth so far, adding Volts to it is just extra cream in the coffee (plus, y'know, that 'Not Lance Armstrong' thing most of us have...).
7) History. The Wright Brothers were bike mechanics. The first powered vehicles were motorized bicycles. The first three and four-wheelers had bicycle parts in them. The British were weaponizing the friggen' things in WWI for the luvva pete...
8) Simple. Can't rebuild an engine? Can't even tune one? Welcome to the family! Here's a few wrenches, here's some Lithium grease, here's some Duct Tape for that old seat. See that contraption here in my barn? I've got no money, no tools and no talent-but i've got some old bikes from a dumpster, some bolts and a tube of JB Cold Weld! Come back in a month and i'll have my first Recumbent Trike! Oh well, if you want to go BUY one....
You want me to go down THAT in my '93 Festiva? Oh a Mountain Bike, well why didn't you say so?
In the lake? Not in my Fest...oh. NICE. Foam outriggers, hm? Attaches in five minutes? Well okay, but no rapids, right?
A lawn mower? Wow. I've got build one of those, where's the nearest Dumpster?
Do you have any idea what the Third-world nations have done with the humble Bicycle? Taxis. One man Ambulances. Pedal-powered cell-phone charging booths. Water pumps. Washers and dryers. Grinders for coffee and grains, knife sharpeners, metal presses, entire machine shops running on Human Power!
We used to be like that. Henry Ford made Tractor Kits for the Model T-convert to Tractor Mode in an hour for plowing, another hour and you took your wife to the dance. Before the Volstead Act half of our tractors ran on alcohol, making farmers largely self-sufficient. You could repair half the transmissions with your bare hands and a claw hammer and fix a tire with coat sleeve, tar and a hand pump. We used to make butcher knives out of broken saw blades, resole our shoes with old tires, butcher our own(no hormones!) meat. It wasn't that long ago either. My Dad used to make Crossbows out of truck springs, my Grandmother made her clothes by hand, my Grandad built his own house with a maul, a planer and a hammer...
...um, rambling again.It's late and my coffee's gone, so i'll leave you with-
10) Backup. Your car just got hit by an SUV in the parking lot. Alignment shot, fuel(or battery) leak, hope the insurance covers the cost of repair. The economy's not so good, even the used cars are being snatched up and while you MIGHT get reimbursed for the Rental car you still could be out some money to start wi-
But look, in yonder garage-your first EV, that cheap, reliable DIY bike you had so much fun building. Not the fastest, not the best cargo capacity-but it's a reliable, versatile hybrid and it will do the job. Charge up the batteries. It's been waiting for you.
Aaaand if that doesn't convince you nothing will. So i'm going to get off of this Soapbox and grab some rest-
A well built electric bike is the most efficient form of transportation in the world. Even including amortization of the cost of good batteries, e-bikes are cheaper to operate than a pedal bike. This is true because, while the human body is a marvelous biological machine, it is less efficient at turning its fuel into mechanical energy than electric motors AND food is far more expensive than electricity.
A forum community dedicated to DIY electric car owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about electric vehicle conversions, builds, performance, modifications, classifieds, troubleshooting, maintenance, and more!